As we emerge into some kind of normality, we’re all looking for a mini-break away, a change of scenery, somewhere different to our own 4 walls. With October half term on the horizon, why not book a break with the reassurance of staying right here in the UK and in the beautiful Lake District.
We have beautiful cottages all over the Lake District of course, but we thought we’d showcase some ideas of things to do a little off the beaten track, at places that are perhaps a little quieter.
Check out our cottages on the fringes of the Lake District.
This magical place sits in the heart of the Lowther estate near Penrith. Lots of options for eating and drinking here. Home to a Michelin star 3AAA rosettes restaurant, a kitchen garden café, a spacious beer hall, and the local Inn – the Queen’s Head. The lovely gardens are open and have new animal trails, which is a family-friendly route where you can see shorthorn cattle, rare breed pigs, Boer goats, ducks & chickens, as well as the wilder side of red squirrels, rabbits, and pheasant.
A spectacular ruined castle set in 130 acres of gardens. Plenty of space to wander, and a fantastic ‘lost castle’ playground in the middle of it. Spectacular grounds and countryside and home to many festivals including Kendal Calling and various foodie and vintage gatherings. Autumn half term usually brings some Halloween fun, so check their website for information nearer the time.
Head out onto Ullswater Lake on board Ullswater Steamers for a relaxed view of the beautiful scenery, make sure to plan ahead, Lake Cruises are only permitting pre-booked customers and tickets are limited. Perhaps get off at Howtown and walk back to Glenridding and enjoy a beautiful 8-mile lakeside walk.
Rheged Visitor Centre
Rheged is now in its 20th year and welcomes locals and visitors to work and to enjoy galleries, cinemas, shops, and eateries. A fabulous wet-weather option at Junction 40 of the M6 near Penrith. Rheged is due to re-open in the autumn with an exciting new programme.
Keswick is a favourite amongst visitors and locals alike and a busy market town in the North Lakes. If you head off the beaten track a little, there are lots to see and do.
The Lakes Distillery
The Lakes Distillery on Bassenthwaite has reopened, with interactive tours about how they make whiskey, gin, and vodka, as is the bistro, but pre-booking is essential.
The Pencil Museum
If you’re in Keswick, the Pencil Museum must be one of the most quirky visits going! Think secret Second World War pencils complete with hidden maps. Please book your time by phone on 01768 773626, more details on booking your visit are available over on their website here. The museum café is currently closed but lots are open in Keswick town centre.
Keswick Museum is open every afternoon 12-4pm, sharing displays from the Keswick School of Industrial Arts, writer Robert Southey and the work of Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, founder of the National Trust.
Mirehouse, Bassenthwaite, near Keswick
The beautiful, natural gardens at Mirehouse open daily until 31st October 10am-4.30pm. Enjoy the tranquility of the walled Bee Garden, stroll along the poetry walk or sit by the shores of the lake. Plenty of space and stunning views of the landscapes. For now, the house and playground remain closed.
Honister Slate Mine
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, check out Honister, and England’s last working slate mine. Climb the original miners’ route, the Via Ferrata Classic, an exposed adventure climbing course created from cargo nets and wire bridges strung 366 metres above the valley floor. If that’s not enough for you, take the bigger challenge by climbing the Via Ferrata Extreme! For those who want to learn more about the mine but want to keep their feet firmly on the ground book a fully-guided underground tour. Limited numbers available on each tour and booking restrictions so, check first.
Grizedale & Winlatter Forest Visitor Centre
Now open daily 10 am – 4 pm. Get out and about on bike trails, bike hire, sculpture trails, fell pony, and alpaca adventures, then head indoors to the gallery to enjoy art and sculpture. A great day out for all the family whatever your interests are.
Head west from Keswick and you’ll find The Lake District’s only coastal village, with bronze age settlements, Roman forts and Viking remains. Go back to the Victorian steam era and experience La’ll Ratty, or the Ravenglass & Eskdale steam railway, which takes you on a stunning seven-mile journey through the National Park on a narrow-gauge railway. The museum currently remains closed.
A must-visit in the area is Muncaster Castle. Still lived in by the Frost-Pennington family after nine centuries, Muncaster has a fascinating history and its equally famous bird of prey displays at its Hawk and Owl Centre throughout the year.
Dine out in style
This idyllic area probably has some of the best foodie places in the UK. Cartmel village is home to Simon Rogan’s various restaurants, some superb 17th-century inns, a certain sticky-toffee pudding shop, a 12th-century priory, and of course, Cartmel Racecourse.
Walk the Lyth Valley
To the northeast of Cartmel Fell lies Lyth Valley, which is flanked by Scout Scar and Whitbarrow Scar. It’s rolling lush landscapes are strewn with damson trees and is home to a number of villages, such as Brigsteer, Levens, Bowland Bridge, and Crosthwaite.
Holker Hall and Gardens
Explore the delights of Holker Hall and Garden, Levens Hall & gardens, and the many cosy pubs around the valley.
We hope you’re inspired to try a new area of our wonderful Lake District for your October Half Term break.